The Planning Unit administers the Section 401 Water Quality Certification Program in accordance with Section 401 of the Clean Water Act. The program evaluates applications for federal section 404 permits, and some licenses, authorizing dredge and fill activities in surface waters. Thorough review determines whether the proposed activity complies with Title 117 – Nebraska Surface Water Quality Standards. If the activity is likely to violate the standards, conditions for complying with the Title 117 will be issued with the certification, or certification will be denied. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Section 404 Dredge and Fill Permits and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission licenses are examples of federal regulatory programs that require state Water Quality Certification before the permit or license can be issued. However, to allow for a timely review and decision, applications for Water Quality Certification can be made at the same time the application for the federal permit is submitted.
While the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has jurisdiction limited to wetland features and water bodies identified as federally jurisdictional waters, our Department does have authority and responsibility under Title 117 for all surface waters in Nebraska, including wetlands. Dredge and fill activities in “Waters of the State” are subject to the Anti-degradation Clause of Title 117. We encourage project proponents to join us in working together to conserve these valuable resources through consulting with NDEQ when so-called “non-jurisdictional” waters may be impacted.
For more information about Water Quality Certification please contact:
CWA Section 401 Coordinator
Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality
Suite 400, The Atrium Building
1200 N Street
Lincoln, NE 68509-8922